American Heart Doctor and Tour Guide Gunned Down in Belize

‘Well-loved’ American heart doctor gunned down on vacation in Belize along with tour guide

>> Read more trending news 

Gary Swank, 53, who was in the country fly fishing, was found floating face down in a lagoon in San Pedro along with his guide, Marion Nestle Graniel, also 53.

Swank, who worked for the Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, was also an associate professor of internal medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Authorities said Swank and Graniel were fishing at the San Pedro town lagoon when a skiff passed by and opened fire on their boat, Carilion Clinic officials said in a social media post. 

“We are heartbroken at his loss. Dr. Swank was a well-respected and well-loved colleague who, each and every day, embodied the values that we hold dear. His absence leaves a void in our team and in our community,” the clinic said in its statement on Swank’s death.

Belize authorities are continuing their investigation into the deaths of Swank and Graniel.

>> Trending: ‘I’m having a bad dream:’ Sleeping passenger wakes up alone on dark plane

The U.S. State Department increased its travel advisory for Belize earlier this year to a Level 2, meaning tourists should exercise increased caution and remain vigilant to “heightened risks to safety and security.” The agency said it raised the travel alert for Belize because of violent crime, including “sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies and murder.”

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.